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Unified storage: The change you need

Ricky Martin
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Unified storage blog

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
― Mahatma Gandhi   Today, we enjoy an incredible number of applications on our smartphones. Not too long ago we had to purchase separate products to complete the tasks that we now do with one smartphone – a cell phone to make calls, GPS for the car, a camera to take pictures, a pocket calculator, a watch, an alarm clock, an odometer, and a heart rate monitor for exercise... In the 90s some of us even had a pager clipped to our belts and, in our pockets, we carried a Palm Pilot as our digital assistant to manage our calendar.  This year Gartner has forecasted that more than 1.5 billion smartphones will be shipped representing a double-digit growth in sales over 2020. We take for granted the wide range of applications and the compelling value that the smartphone created for us through the technological innovation of unification.

We are now seeing the unification story at play in the data storage industry where IT organizations no longer must buy and manage separate storage products for all the different types of data assets and various types of workloads they need to manage.

Innovation advances unified storage – again

The concept of modern unified storage is easy to understand – one platform for everything – but hard to find in the wild. It doesn’t help that the term ‘unified storage’ was originally used to describe storage behind similar protocols such as block storage supporting SCSI and Fibre Channel access. Today unified storage has been redefined as scale-out storage systems supporting different protocols such as SAN for block and NAS for file and expanded to include cloud storage platforms supporting all strategies, locations, and workloads. Dell with PowerStore and PowerScale and Pure with FlashArray and FlashBlade cannot offer storage with block and file and object protocols in a single system.

Modern unified storage incorporates multiple clouds

Technology and innovation now allow modern unified storage to simultaneously support diversely mixed architectures, environments, infrastructure, workloads, protocols, data, and media.Our solution includes NetApp ONTAP software, NetApp AFFNetApp Cloud services, and NetApp FAS hardware to deliver modern unified storage, for example. Other data storage vendors like Dell and Pure lack native cloud services such as tiering and compliance yet continue to promote a mix of independent storage systems.

Simplifying your IT strategy with modern unified storage

A year of dealing with a pandemic demonstrates why it is vital for you to plan your IT futures while preserving your agility to change. Imagine how much easier it might have been to support 2020’s surprises with a modern unified storage platform instead of a mix of separate storage systems. A modern unified storage simplifies an overall IT strategy with support for scale-up capacity and scale-out performance architecture, physical and virtual and container workloads, and edge and core and cloud infrastructure.

You can easily move all database, application, and user workloads to a modern unified storage platform. Support for popular block, file, and object protocols mean structured and unstructured data can reside on the storage platform. The ability to use a mix of solid-state and hard-disk media creates performance-, capacity-, and cost-optimized storage. Ultimately, benefits multiply because modern unified storage meets more business requirements. Pure or Dell don’t currently support hard-disk drives and likely never will.

While a modern unified storage allows you to do more than you likely expect, the well-proven benefits of storage consolidation alone remain so compelling that it might be the number one reason to consider adding NetApp to your IT infrastructure. Managing all of your business data on a single storage platform – regardless of where it is located across remote offices, data centers, and public clouds – ensures higher return on investment (ROI) and lower total cost of ownership (TCO). Someday in the not-so-distant future, modern unified storage supporting block, file, and object protocols will become as mainstream as today’s smartphones.

To learn how easily NetApp modern unified storage can help your business manage data anywhere and everywhere, visit the NetApp Cloud Manager page.

Modern unified storage checklist

You can rest assured a product offers modern unified storage when you can answer “yes” to all of the following questions.

Does the storage:
  1. simultaneously support old and new protocols for block, file, and object storage?
  2. allow mixing diverse solid-state and hard-disk drives in the same system?
  3. guarantee the minimum storage performance experienced by individual workloads?
  4. scale storage capacity to hundreds of PBs using thousands of drives?
  5. scale storage performance to hundreds of GBps and millions of IOPS using multiple pairs of controllers?


If the answer to any of these questions is “no”, then the storage is not modern unified storage like NetApp. Get the facts. For more information check out the future of storage fact sheet.

Ricky Martin

Ricky Martin leads NetApp’s global market strategy for its portfolio of hybrid cloud solutions, providing technology insights and market intelligence to trends that impact NetApp and its customers. With nearly 40 years of IT industry experience, Ricky joined NetApp as a systems engineer in 2006, and has served in various leadership roles in the NetApp APAC region including developing and advocating NetApp’s solutions for artificial intelligence, machine learning and large-scale data lakes.

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